Author: Emily Siegel
Today marks the first day of finals for students. Whether it’s cramming for a test or putting the final touches on a paper, or (let’s be honest), just starting it, this week marks a stressful time of year for them. It has many of us here in the alumni office reflecting on our own college finals experiences and thinking about the crazy things we used to do to cope during this stressful time.
Food was the most obvious theme. Everyone had memories of either junk food, delicious food, or lack of food during finals. Drew, C’09, always started out her finals’ days by making the trek out to FroGro to stock up on, in her words, “an exuberant amount of snacks.” Her favorites included Frosted Mini Wheats, fruit snacks, and granola bars. Lex, C’07, opted for food of the delivery kind…preferably Greek Lady who would drop off directly to the library. Casey, C’95, was lacking in food during finals…those were the years the library banned food and any attempt to bring it in was often foiled by the confiscating library ladies – it was tough being a student in the 90s!
Besides food, space seemed to be the other important factor in getting through finals. While Drew and Lex opted for the library (Drew being a member of the “Rosenparty” and Lex preferring the 5th floor music section), like me, many others avoided the library altogether.
Casey was always on the quest for the perfect studying place, but after hours of searching, often returned home defeated; having still not studied. Leigh-Ann preferred the floor in her apartment, opting to remain comfortable in her pajamas for as long as possible. Mari, GSE ’12, our grad student, is a bit of a wanderer these days as she seeks out space. While the library has been a great refuge for a majority of the year, it is now everyone else’s preferred stomping grounds, making it much less appealing to her. I preferred the camp of switching up space as often as possible, thinking it somehow kept my brain fresh.
And you can’t forget the distractions – no one can possibly study and write papers 24/7 without a little unwinding time! Lynn, C’93, found refuge in the Shakespeare Garden just outside of Fisher Fine Arts (Furness Building). With benches surrounded by trees and quotes of Shakespeare on the stepping stones, it was a very calming place and offered some solitude from the crowded library. Leigh-Ann preferred to procrastinate from studying by cleaning her apartment with her roommates. Her apartment was never as clean as it was during finals – everyone knows cleaning is way more fun than studying! And then there’s Mari, who unwinds by reading celeb magazines, thinking about how much more glamorous that life would be than the one of a final’s student.
Our newest addition to the office, Liz, just might take the cake with distractions. In addition to running outside of the library and doing jumping jacks and cartwheels, she would take frequent trips to the bathroom and make faces in the mirror attempting to make herself laugh. After that, she’d slather on some suntan lotion and head back to her corner of the library, the scent reminding her that better days were ahead!
And that truly is the hope for our students today – that better days are ahead. Until then, embrace finals! Stays focused, well fed and hydrated, and remember to infuse some distractions into your day. Finals don’t last forever; eventually you get a job and have different kinds of deadlines.